7 Things You Didn't Know About Occupational Therapy

May-21-2015

There are few people in the world that can say they help individuals gain back their independence. Occupational therapists are among the professionals that focus on doing just that. Whether it is helping a patient recover after a severe injury or helping to improve function of a body part suffering from natural wear and tear, occupational therapists use goal-oriented care and unique methods of rehabilitation to help restore function, mobility and independence.

One of the biggest fears we see later in life is the possibility of losing one's mobility or ability to complete daily tasks independently. Occupational therapy can help ensure you stay active and independent as long as possible!

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy is defined as the treatment that helps people who have physical or mental problems that hinder the ability to perform important daily activities. Individual goals typically focus on daily tasks such as dressing, cooking, bathing and other daily tasks. An occupational therapist's overarching goals are to help patients regain or maintain a level of independence that allows them to stay healthy and mobile as long as possible. Therapists are often brought in to help when a senior is affected by an injury, illness, accident or mental condition.

Interested in learning more about occupational therapy? Discover these seven things you didn't know about occupational therapy!

1. Occupational Therapy is Prescribed by a Doctor

While an evaluation can be administered before a prescription is provided, no occupational therapy can be performed before a physician provides a physician's prescription or referral.

2. Occupational Therapy is Covered by Medicare.

Medicare Part B helps to pay for physical therapy services that are medically necessary as determined by an individual's physician. This includes;

  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech-language pathology services
  • Physical therapy

Check with your provider before receiving any sort of treatment to ensure quality coverage is applicable.

3. Occupational Therapy Can be Offered in Your Home.

Occupational therapy can be administered in a wide variety of settings. One of which is in the comfort of your own home. The goal of in home occupational therapy is to maximize an individual's independence while allowing them to remain in their homes. By improving or maintaining basic skills, occupational therapists help those in their care not only stay in their homes, but keep them there as long as possible.

4. Occupational Therapy Can Help Patients of All Ages

The end goal of occupational therapy is to help individuals maintain or improve their daily functionality. As we age, tasks like getting dressed, cleaning and cooking can become more and more challenging. Both individuals and caregivers should consider the benefits of occupational therapy, as it can drastically increase quality of life and decrease the risk of accidents.

5. Occupational Therapy Can Help with Permanent Function Loss

Occupational therapy is also there when someone is dealing with permanent loss of function. Several examples include individuals dealing with dementia or vision loss. In the case of dementia, an occupational therapist will help simplify tasks to make a dealing with memory loss easier. This also helps caregivers understand how to support and interact with their loved ones each day.

6. Occupational Therapy Can Help Stroke Victims

According to the CDC, stroke reduces mobility in more than half of stroke survivors age 65 and over. Because of this, a majority of individuals that experience a stroke need some form of rehabilitation to regain independence. Side effects of a stroke include some of the following;

  • Temporary paralysis
  • Permanent paralysis
  • Effects on balance, vision, memory and speech

An occupational therapist looks at each stroke survivor to identify their physical or mental challenges brought on by a stroke. Once the issues are identified, the road to recovery begins. As with any form of therapy the end goal is to return a patient to their original level of performance, and to help individuals find new ways to do the things they used to do before their injury.

7. Occupational Therapy Helps With Joint Replacement

While the road to recovery from any joint replacement surgery has it's own set of challenges, there are ways occupational therapy can help. If someone has undergone hip replacement surgery, their first step is to strengthen the muscles surrounding the hip joint. This begins with even the smallest of contractions in the muscles around the hip in the legs and buttocks. Depending on the individual recovery process, an OT can work with you in a variety of ways.

From simple tips to create a safer environment, to exercises that help improve large and small motor function, an occupational therapist can help create a safer environment for you or your loved one. The occupational therapists at Creekside are here to help you on your road to recovery. Reach out today to see how we can help you!